SCALIA’S MOUTH….The Supreme Court is about to hear a case that will test whether the government is required to provide detainees at Guant?namo Bay with special military tribunals. At a talk a couple of weeks ago, Antonin Scalia made it clear that he’s already made up his mind on this case:
“War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts,” he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by Newsweek. “Give me a break.”
Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don’t have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: “If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I’m not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it’s crazy.”
Will Scalia recuse himself following this blunder? I’m going to take the underdog bet on this one and say that he does. Even Supreme Court justices are susceptible to peer pressure, and I have to figure that he’s going to feel some heat from his fellow Supremes in this case.
Which could be a real problem for the government. As the Newsweek piece notes, John Roberts has already recused himself because he heard the case as an appellate judge, and if Scalia does the same it means the court will have lost two of its most conservative, pro-administration judges. In other words, the government will probably lose. And all because Scalia couldn’t keep his mouth shut.